With the Fourth of July falling on Thursday, that leaves a nice long weekend to celebrate the nation’s independence. Parades and games, barbecues and cook-offs, bucking broncos and antiques cars.
The party stretches from Thursday through Sunday, from Ninilchik to Seldovia.
Thursday offers a full afternoon of fun at Homer’s neighbor to the north, thanks to the efforts of the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce.
The parade begins at 1 p.m., with a change in the route. As in past years, it lines up at Petro Express and continues south along the Sterling Highway, but then it turns west on Milo Fritz Avenue, past the fire hall, past the Veterans of Foreign Wars and ends at the Anchor Point Senior Center.
“We didn’t want to jam up the road going down to the beach where the tractor launch is,” Bill Scott, chamber director, said of the reason for the re-route.
A community barbecue kicks off at Slidehole Campground at 2 p.m., with the chamber providing hot dogs, chips and drinks.
“If you want to bring something to share, you can,” said Scott.
The barbecue includes a chili and dessert cook-off, and a coin hunt for the youngsters.
Missing from this year’s Independence Day celebration is the chamber-sponsored duck race on the Anchor River.
“The streams are so vulnerable with the salmon that we stopped doing that,” said Scott of the decision in favor of the river’s fish population.
The fun begins Thursday morning and continues through the weekend here at the end of the road.
Step back in time from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with the Antique Wheels Show in the Spenard Builders Supply parking lot on Lake Street. All vehicular antiques are welcome, from the horse-pulled variety to vehicles with engines, four wheels to two wheels. While there, take time to vote for the entry of your choice.
A carnival at American Legion Post 16 on East End Road kicks into action between noon-3 p.m. and is organized by the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and the Junior Auxiliary. There are games with ticket prices to fit kid-sized pocketbooks; there’s hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy and homemade pies; and you can get your face painted, maybe with some red, white and blue in honor of the nation’s birthday.
A barbecue at the Elks Lodge, 215 Jenny Lane, helps raise funds for the Elks scholarship program. It begins at 1 p.m. and continues into the evening. Admission is $15 adults, $7 ages 6-12 and free ages 5 and younger. A $100 raffle ticket includes admission to the barbecue for the ticket holder and a guest, plus offers an opportunity to be a winner of the $16,450 total cash prizes available. Live music begins at 7 p.m.
The theme of this year’s Fourth of July parade is “honor the past, imagine the future,” which leaves a lot to interpretation.
“It’s pretty much wherever your mind wants to go,” said Maya Rourke, Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s coordinator of the event, which is being sponsored by Well Fargo.
Anyone wanting to be in the parade is urged to be at the Homer High School parking lot no later than 5:15 p.m. Spectators can view the parade as it continues from the high school, along Pioneer Avenue, makes a brief stop at the reviewing stand at Bay Realty and ends at the parking lot of the Homer Education and Recreation Complex.
Prizes will be offered for the best group of adults, group of children, individual, bicycle, use of theme, best of show, best of show animal and the judges’ sentimental favorite.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski ends her two-day visit to the southern peninsula by riding in the parade as the grand marshal.
For those not ready to stop celebrating when the clock strikes midnight on July 4th, the Kachemak Bay Celtic Club is inviting the public to, “Come an’ gie yer Celtic oan!”
The Crow Creek Pipes and Drums will perform as they walk along Pioneer Avenue from WKLF Park to Cosmic Kitchen at 5 p.m. Friday, and perform again at Down East Saloon from 7-8 p.m.
The Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festival gets underway at Karen Hornaday Park beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 adults, $5 ages 6-16, free ages 5 and younger, and $25 families.
Wrap up the day with a traditional Scottish meal, dancing and some tall tales at the Elks Lodge at 6 p.m. Admission for that is $13 with drinks available for purchase.
For the 53rd year, the public is invited to catch some rodeo excitement. The Saturday-Sunday event held at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik promises some whooping and hollering as cowboys and cowgirls from the Matanuska Valley all the way to Kodiak compete.
Gates open each day at 1:30 p.m., with the grand entry at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 adults, $5 ages 0-12 and adults 65 and older; active duty military get in free.
Returning spectators will be thrilled to know the old wooden bleachers are a thing of the past, replaced with funding from the state’s capital budget.
“We got the grant two years ago and had them installed last summer,” said Lara McGinnis, the fair’s executive director. The bleachers include ramps and platforms to accommodate as many as seven wheelchairs.
New fencing helps designate spectator and contestant areas. And, as of July 1, the fairgrounds are smoke free.
“After hours of picking up cigarette butts off the ground and realizing the average fairgoers are avoiding smoke, we decided it was healthier all the way around,” said McGinnis.
Also new this year are sponsors Highmark Distillery of Sterling, Best Transit Mix of Soldotna, Peninsula Paralegal of Soldotna, Formation Chiropractic and Day Spa of Soldotna and Homer Electric Association.
Looking for some Fourth of July fun across-the-bay fun? Seldovia is definitely the place, thanks to Seldovia of Chamber of Commerce organizers Chaz Nichols and Jenny Chissus.
Begin the day with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. Then there’s the Salmon Shuffle, a 5K run through town, at 9 a.m. Booths with food and other offerings open at 10 a.m.
At 10:15 a.m., dignitaries, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Peter Micciche, Rep. Paul Seaton and Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District executive director John Torgerson, gather for the groundbreaking of a value-added fish processing facility.
The honor of being the “Old Crab” of Seldovia’s July 4th parade goes to Murkowski. The parade begins at 11 a.m.
The public will have an opportunity to bid for lunch with the senator at the noon-2 p.m. fish fry. Fifty percent of the total auction amount will be donated to Susan B. English School’s next Close-Up trip to Washington, D.C. and the remaining 50 percent goes toward Seldovia’s 2014 July 4th celebration.
The fish fry is open to the public. Anyone buying one of the chamber’s $15 buttons gets into the meal free, but there’s a catch: only 150 seats are available.
“Folks buy a button and get a free lunch, but not everyone can get fed. If you want to participate, you have to buy a button,” said Chissus.
The rest of the afternoon is taken up with games for kids and adults, some on dry land and some on the water. The day wraps up with a street dance from 6-9 p.m.
“A lot of the time, after everything is over in the afternoon, people say, ‘What now?’ So, I think it will be exciting to have the street dance going on,” said Chissus. “There’ll be live music right in the middle of town.”
Transportation by both air and water is available to Seldovia, with some special rates being offered for the holidays.
Fourth of July Schedule of Events:
Parade line-up, 12:30 p.m.
at Petro Express
Parage begins, 1 p.m.
Parade runs from Petro Express to Anchor Point Senior Center.
Barbecue, 2 p.m.
at Slidehole Campground
Hot dogs, chips and drinks provided; bring a dish to share; chili and dessert cook-off; coin-hunt for youngsters.
Antique Wheels Show, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
at Spenard Builders Supply, Lake Street
Open to all antiques on wheels. For information, call Boyd Walker, 299-3973.
Carnival, Noon-3 p.m.
at American Legion Post 16, 2.5 mile East End Road
Hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, homemade pies; 50-cent and $1 games, baseball throw, duck shoot, face painting; prizes for every game.
Annual barbecue and raffle
at Elks Lodge, 215 Jenny Lane
1 p.m.: Barbecue
2 p.m.: Drawing
7 p.m.: Live music
Admission: $15 adult, $7 ages 6-12, under 5 free.
This is an annual scholarship fundraiser with $16,450 in total cash prizes. $100 raffle ticket. Admits holder and guest to barbecue and drawing. Prizes for first draw, every 10th draw, 100th and 200th draw, 299th (runner up) draw, 300th (first place) draw, consolation.
Parade line-up, 5 p.m.
at the Homer high school parking lot
Arrive no later than 5:15 p.m.
Firecracker one-mile run, 6 p.m.
at the Homer high school track
The course circles the track and then leads the parade. Wear red, white and blue. $5 entry fee for ages 14 and older, free 13 and younger.
Parade begins, 6 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Honor the past, imagine the future;” Sen. Lisa Murkowski is grand marshal. The parade begins at Homer High School and goes along Pioneer Avenue to HERC (Homer Education and Recreation Complex) parking lot.
Crow Creek Pipes and Drums
5 p.m. Pipers Walk from WKFL Park to Cosmic Kitchen
7-8 p.m. Performance at Down East Saloon
Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festival
at Karen Hornaday Park
9:30 a.m.: Gates open
10 a.m.: Heavy athletics begin
Noon: Kilted Mile
Admission: $10 adults, $5 ages 6-16, 5 and under free, families $25. To compete, register at kachemakbaycelticclub.com.
Begins at the end of the Spit
Noon: Captains’ meeting, P float
2 p.m.: Race begins, end of the Spit
Traditional Scottish meal, 6 p.m.
at Homer Elks Lodge, 215 Jenny Lane
Includes music, dancing and tall stories.
Admission: $13, drinks for purchase.
53rd annual Ninilchik Rodeo
at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds
1:30 p.m.: Gates open
2 p.m.: Grand entry
Admission: $5 ages 0-12 and 65 and older; $10 adults; free active military
Pancake breakfast, 8-10:30 p.m.
Salmon Shuffle 5K, 9 a.m.
All booths, food, and fun open at 10 a.m.
Groundbreaking for value-added fish processing facility, 10:15 a.m.
With Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Peter Miccichi, Rep. Paul Seaton, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District executive director John Torgerson.
Parade, 11 a.m.
Introduction to Old Crab, Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Parade prize presentations, 11:30 a.m.
Fish fry, Noon-2 p.m.
Kids’ games, 1 p.m.
Adult street games, 2 p.m.
Ducky race, 3 p.m.
Water sports, 3:15 p.m.
Street dance, 6-9 p.m.